Oil for Straight Razor. What kind and when do you apply and remove.

Discussion in 'Straight Razor Shave Clinic' started by jordanalexearle, Oct 31, 2012.

    Hey everyone,

    So I just received my first straight razor as a gift!! Yay!!!! But before I use it I want to make sure I keep it safe and rust free. So I heard that you generally use oil to keep the rust off. I was wondering what kind? I was also wondering if the oil you used would have any adverse effects on the skin. I don't want to end up with acne all over the place after shaving because of oil on the razor.

    So with this in mind. What oil do you use, how often do you use it, do you remove it before your shave, and does it mess with your skin at all?

    I will be keeping a shave journal once I start since I am completely new at this and I think it would be fun to do and cool to look back on one day.

    Thanks for all the help guys!

  1. I see you have four posts, so welcome to B&B.

    Most folks tend to rinse off the razor after use, dry it, and store it away in a dry environment, only oiling razors that are to be stored away for a spell--if that, since there also is Ballistol available. But since you asked the question, I will admit to using an oil mixture of four parts denatured alcohol to one part USP mineral oil every time I shave. After shaving, I rinse the blade off with hot water and dry it with a bar towel, drying the edge with a light stropping motion here. After thirty laps on a leather strop, I give the bottle containing the oil solution a brief shake and then dip the blade in briefly. The important thing here is to avoid contact with the scales as the alcohol can ruin the finish. Then I leave the razor opened on its spine for a few minutes, to let the alcohol evaporate, before putting it away in a dry area outside of the bathroom. Before shaving, I gently wipe the oil residue off the blade with a bar towel as before, then spritz the blade with isopropyl alcohol and gently wipe it one more time. No oil is then introduced to the strop, which also means that no oil is introduced to my face via the blade either. All of this sounds complicated, but it only takes a few moments out of my shaving routine.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
  2. Is there a brand or brands of oil you use? How about air tool oil? Thanks for asking the question Jordanalexearle, I was wondering the same thing.
  3. I also use mineral oil in alcohol. I rinse the blade under hot tap water and dry with tissue prior to stropping.

    +1 to keeping alcohol off the scales. I had a drop land on one of my wade and butchers scales (black celluloid) and there is a slightly bleached spot there now.
  4. Camilla Oil works as blade protectant and works fine on a Coticule honing stone
  5. Air tool oil sounds like toxicity / cancer waiting to happen.

    I use a very light spread of white petroleum.

    Any oil is fine, think food grade, at bare minimum, and research cosmetic grade...

    In reality, unless your in a humid environment, if you dry the razor good, no oil is needed. I run toilet paper through scales, all crevices, etc...

    But, I am switching to something else, thinking like a baby oil, or natural/organic body butter, it should not clog pores/cause breakouts.
  6. Air tool oil is a highly refined thin oil. It is non gumming and displaces moisture.
  7. A few comments here. White petroleum is also known as Vaseline, and mineral oil is also known as Vaseline oil. Not all oils will work long term with steel, particularly vegetable oils, which risk to turn rancid. Camellia oil is a vegetable oil; so it is only recommended for light-duty, short-term protection with steel, rather than extended long-term protection, which calls for a petroleum-based oil, if oil is to be used. Of the petroleum-based oils, I believe only USP mineral oil is food-safe. For stones, Norton makes a lighter, food-safe mineral oil blend, but otherwise, I have heard that it is better to avoid using vegetable oils when honing, again due to the risk of their turning rancid.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
  8. For normal use, I don't use anything.
    For storage of a week or more, just a light coating of camellia oil, stored tang-down so the excess oil runs down to the pivot.
  9. I use this:


    and the MSDS is here:


    After a shave, strop 10 laps, and put a drop on the blade, then spread it around with a tissue.

    Wipe off the oil before stopping for the next shave.

    There may be some milligrams of oil left on the blade. I can't imagine that it would hurt your skin, and I know it doesn't hurt my strop.

    I suspect any other mineral oil would work just as well. I keep threatening to try Mobil 1 . . .
    . Charles
  10. No oil ever for me.

    I store all my razors in silicon sleeves from The Superior Shave, like Jarrod says, they are ugly, unassuming but they just do their job. I have never had a spot of rust on any razors stored in the sleeves.
  11. Thank you for all of the advice! Also thank you for the welcome. I am not sure which route to go right now. I am a broke college student so I want to get something cheap that will work well (which I know is asking a lot) The silicone sleeve sounds good, but I haven't heard of it before. Whats the premise of why it works? What keeps the blade from rusting? Also does anyone else have any opinions on this? I want to make sure I don't kill my first straight razor. I will probably be using it every other day so it wont be stored for long periods of time for a while. I just live by a river so I am a little worried about moisture.

    Thanks again for all of the help! I cannot wait to start!
  12. In both cases, using oil or dry silicone, the main thing is to thoroughly rinse your blade off with water and then remove this from your blade off before storing it away. If the blade is not clean and dry before using oil or storing it in the silicone sock, it will stay there and then start to cause trouble.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  13. Tuf cloth or Tuf glide. It pretty much makes a semi permanent barrier for moisture and it should completely bead off of it. It costs less than $10, and is probably more effective than anything else.

    And Alum is right. You MUST dry it completely before using any lubricant, otherwise you will only seal it on the razor. Dipping in alcohol and letting it evaporate and wiping it dry again should displace any water.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  14. I use pure lanolin (the stuff that is like thick vaseline). It's a great protectant, and it has natural antibacterial qualities. It's also obviously not bad for your skin, provided you are not allergic to it. I apply it after every single shave using folded tissue or toilet paper, and then wipe of the excess. I began doing this after all of my blades would get spots/discoloration, even when using mineral oil to protect (the water here is rough). It is very thick, so be sure to wipe it off on a towel prior to stropping.

    I got this idea after reading that in medieval times, lanolin was used as a protectant on suits of armor, and is responsible for the preservation of many such suits that are in museums today. You can also use it to waterproof leather boots, although it is a bear to apply.
  15. It is very important to keep water out of the pivot and between the scales. If it gets in there, it must be removed or the carbon steel blade will waterspot and rust. I rinse my blade slanting down under hot water taking great care not to get water into the pivot, and wipe dry. A water displacing liquid or a jet of canned compressed air may help clear water out of the pivot, should it get in that area.

    I let my warm wiped blade dry outside of any storage case while I cleanup after shaving. For short to mid length storage, I wipe the dry blade with knife grade camilla oil or USP mineral oil from a pharmacy, then store the blade in a dry room within a secure pen display case. Mineral oil is food safe. For longer storage protection, wipe the razor with Renaissance Wax, silicon cloth wipes, Ballistol, or some other highly rated firearms storage oil. These coatings should be removed by wiping before shaving to eliminate possible skin impacts. I also remove coatings by wiping before preshave stropping so that they cannot possibly negatively affect the stropping. Do not oil a razor until it is dry as the oil coating can trap the moisture on the blade and fail to prevent rust. I store a swatch of cloth moistened with camilla oil in a pill container for wiping razors after stropping.

    Exposure to moisture (basement and garage storage) and leaving acidic fingerprints on unprotected carbon steel can quickly cause rust or staining. Contact with some contaminants can almost immediately cause carbon steel to stain or rust. This is a well discussed topic amoung kitchen knife hobbiests who learn that meat and certain vegetable juices will immediately stain (patina) shiny carbon steel blades. Such a happening on a razor can irreparably damage gold wash and etchings and if left eventually to progress into heavy rust and pitting can destroy a razor. While rust can be buffed off a razor, nothing can put steel back into any pits formed by rusting. If the pits are very shallow and away from a hollow ground edge, it may be possible to make them dissapear by buffing away the razor's steel until the lowest depth of the pits have been reached. Such heavy buffing could adversely impact the cosmetic appearance of the razor. Using anything abrasive may remove gold wash and may even harm etchings. Rust prevention is far easier than razor restoration after damage from rust.

    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  16. You can pick up a small, round, plastic container of cotton pads at the local drug store. I poured in a bit of mineral oil until all the pads were soaked. They make it easy to oil up your razor before storage.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  17. I use Camelia oil. That's what the Japanese use for their carbon steel blades.
  18. +1..works for stainless as well
  19. I've been shower-shaving with my Wacker 15/16 all summer and have had no issues with rust or staining, even in the pivot area.

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